One of my distributors got angry at me today. Actually, my phone manner pissed her off. Specifically, she said the way I “hmmm’d” while she spoke sounded like I was eating an apple and reading a magazine. At the time I was trying to make her feel heard (!).
In a dispute use the communication technique that sounds least like a communication technique. That was the advice from Christopher Moore of CDR Associates, the internationally acclaimed dispute resolution firm. These guys are skilled, brilliant and cool. My summary is a poor understatement of their abilities (and I know and love these guys).
I must be getting rusty. Despite not agreeing most of her content, I did want to hear the complaint and acknowledge her reality. I also didn’t want to argue with her.
I could finish this entry with a pithy “you can’t win them all”, but that lets me off the hook. I don’t think my relationship with the distributor is viable. She will probably resign on Monday. But I need to lift my game in difficult times. It’s easy to win when everything is going my way. It’s the way I deal with complex and unhappy pressures that builds loyalty and inspires the extraordinary efforts of my team.